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Tips For Choosing the Best ISP (Internet Service Provider) in Your Region – Part – 2

Hi!

Internet reach is increasing rapidly in all parts of the world due to its numerous advantages. Choosing the best Internet Service Provider (ISP) that provides real value for your – individual or company money can be a real difficult task if you are the first timer or don’t know the criteria to evaluate the ISP.

The tips in this post (part – 2 ) and the previous one (part -1) at: http://www.pctipstricks.com/tips-for-choosing-the-best-isp-internet-service-provider-in-your-region—part-1/ are attempts to help you in choosing the right all rounder ISP for your personal or business Internet needs.

Summarizing the points covered in the first post, they were (including the sub points slightly hidden in the titles/headlines):

- Professional Reputation of the ISP

- Quality of support, cost and the way to get it – Ability to provide the volume of Internet access and services needed by you – Global roaming facility (if you travel frequently)

As promised in the previous post, some more remaining tips for selecting the best ISP are:

Price Of the Internet Connectivity

 

Check the price of the Internet connection and match it to your budget (if set already). If you can afford a high speed, unlimited Internet  networking connection, go for it as it will save your time and make you more productive. Also check the features that comes with the connection, whether bundled free or paid separately such as email id’s, web space, net telephony, voice calls, roaming access (helps if you travel a lot) etc. as per the connection pack.

Consider an ISP that offers the best prices for the services.

Rates of the broadband varies across the world. It is very costly in India, e.g., I get up to 256Kbps download (up to 32 KBps – no bandwidth guarantee) unlimited pack of 1 month for INR 1300 (presently USD 26) from SIFY (Satyam Infoway) whereas one can easily get unlimited usage 2Mbps download (8 times faster than that of SIFY) connection of 1 month for the same price in US and 50 Mbps unlimited download 50 times faster than Indian SIFY) of one month in China, Japan and Korea.

The Unlimited dialup Internet (excluding the telephone call charges) plans costs in India ranges about INR 7-10 per day (rates depending on the duration – 1, 3, 6 months and one year) – Reference: Tata Indicom unlimited packs. The ISDN (64 Kbps – 128 Kbps) roughly costs double than the dialup Internet, source – Tata Indicom ISDN Internet connection rates.

Leased line connectivity used mostly by the businesses is costly, I checked BSNL current tariff for 2008 for 256Kbps and found it to be INR 2,000,00 (2 lacs) per annum.

Companies must consider the price of the Internet connection compared to the individuals as the cost saving in an year can be huge. Some of the new, lower category ISP may offer Internet connection at low rates to catch the customers but are mostly not able to match the download speeds and the support quality as of the big ISP’s.

Price should be an essential deciding factor while deciding the best ISP but not the only one as there are other important factors in addition to it as discussed earlier. Depending on your needs, you will be the right judge in deciding the services offered versus the price. E.g,: ISP not offering guaranteed – download speed, 24 hours support, > 98% uptime etc. costing less than the other ISP guaranteeing the same.

Starting With The Lowest Priced Internet Connection Matching Your Surfing Needs

Don’t buy the costliest Internet connection from ISP when buying for the first time – Limited or Unlimited connection pack/download of the highest speed. It will be better to start with a pack/bandwidth that is low priced as it’s always better to get a fair idea about the real download speed that you get at your PC and the ISP service standard and the uptime.

Most of the ISP’s give discounts on buying pack of 3 months, 6 months or 1 year etc. When you are starting and little unsure about how the things will turn up from the ISP end, start low and buy a basic low priced pack/bandwidth.

If you are satisfied with the quality of the speed and the uptime etc., then you can always go for higher speed pack/bandwidth without any changes in your Internet hardware at your end (You must consider the no cost scalability factor with your ISP earlier, normally configuration changes at yours or/and ISP end is sufficient provided you bought the hardware to support the higher bandwidth). Even if you want to take an unlimited usage Internet connection, take the lowest priced of sufficient bandwidth (enough for your needs) to get a real feel of the ISP services.

Some of the ISP also offers free demo/test of the connectivity (for sometime) to the prospective customers who will buy large volume of bandwidth at single or multiple locations, try taking the same. Even if you are an individual, consider taking a demo pack from the prospective ISP (if available).

Is The ISP Providing Internet Service Backup And Downtime Compensation?

What happens if a critical hardware (router, switch, RAS, server etc.) or software (DNS, authentication, billing etc.), connectivity (links) or power (UPS, power lines) breaks? Is the ISP having inbuilt mirroring and redundancy etc. so that there is no downtime.

Normally, people buying Internet connection for personal needs tend not to even ask their ISP these questions when buying Internet connectivity for the first time. Even for personal Internet surfing needs, you should definitely consider these checks and go for an ISP that has the most sturdiest System and network design with redundancy to give you maximum uptime.

In India, there have been situations where my Internet connection has been completely down for two weeks or there have been intermittent problems ON and OFF continuing for days. I took compensation for the same from my ISP as I had paid for Truly Unlimited one month pack (24 hours x 30 days) and the ISP had the compensation policy for the downtime.

If you have a critical business that entirely depends on Internet connectivity, then you must visit the prospective ISP data centre and take demo to check if they have the claimed redundancy in the ISP network. The better the redundancy, the better are your business chances of depending on that ISP.

If the ISP is not offering any downtime compensation and doesn’t have any redundancy to avoid downtimes on hardware, software and connectivity failures, then you should not go for that ISP (unless there is no other option left).

Check For Any Dubious, Biased Terms And Hidden Charges Favoring The ISP

 

Find out the terms of the ISP services and investigate if there are any hidden charges that are not clearly mentioned. Some of the ISP’s may charge for the installation, telephonic support, monthly rental for the networking equipment, service charges etc. separately which might not be mentioned explicitly beforehand. Find these charges and add them to their respective charges to come to the final amount. Don’t forget to read the Terms of the ISP service; if they are very difficult to understand and are biased, don’t go for that ISP. Example – Terminating your service just because you exceeded the monthly download volume instead of charging you, is a real No Go!

Trust An ISP That Provides Written Agreement And Not Verbal Commitments

You must sign a service agreement with your ISP that has all the terms and policies etc. written clearly. For a business, it is vital to check that the signed document is legally valid. The cost, committed Internet connection uptime, download speed, downtime compensation, penalty clause etc. – as per your mutual discussion should all be there in black and white.

Type of Internet Hardware – Proprietary or Non-Proprietary To be Bought By You?

Proprietary hardware are custom designed according to the setup/environment and doesn’t work in all the setups. An ISP insisting the customer to buy proprietary hardware is going to land the customer in deep trouble as the hardware won’t work with hardware of other ISP’s using standardized networking equipment. The tactic of getting the proprietary hardware bought by the customer can easily be used to force the customer to stick with one particular ISP even with bad service and high Internet connectivity cost (because the customer would have to invest separately in new non proprietary hardware compliant to the other ISP’s).

You never know when you might have to switch to another ISP, so never invest money in taking Internet connectivity from an ISP that requires you to buy proprietary hardware to make the connection work. You must enquire from the ISP if they would require you to use any proprietary hardware. Also check the product details of the recommended hardware that it is to be bought for getting Internet connectivity at your end.

Consider A Premier, Top Level Or Top Category ISP

The top level ISP has money to invest and can afford to buy good technology, manpower and infrastructure etc. Due to large volumes of the customers, they can afford to offer lower priced connections and variety of services. On the other hand, the lower level/category ISP normally buy bandwidth from top level ISP’s and thus you would have to pay more even for the less download speed compared to a low cost connection with higher download from a top level ISP.

You must checkout the top level/category ISP in your region when researching for buying the best Internet connection for your need. If your business depends critically on your Internet connection, then my advice would be to take the similar backup connectivity from the other same level ISP.

The type of service, cost, support quality, market reputation (business practices), clarity of terms etc. are the top deciding factors when choosing the best ISP for your personal or business Internet access needs.

An individual, i.e., me cannot have the experience of hundreds of friends reading this post, so please share your experiences of selecting the best ISP. I know that there can be more tips of selecting the best ISP, it’s your turn as I have given a lot of tips from my experience.

Come on! Share them!

I realized that it’s 31st December – the last day of year 2008! So, this is the last post of this year. See you in New year 2009 with more useful PC tips and tricks!

Wishing you all the best for 2009!

Rajesh Mago

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    Tags: criteria to choose the correct ISP, how to choose the best ISP, selecting the top ISP company, tips for choosing the right Internet Service Provider (

    This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 at 3:26 am and is filed under Internet, Networking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

    2 Responses to “Tips For Choosing the Best ISP (Internet Service Provider) in Your Region – Part – 2”

    Allen Taylor December 31st, 2008 at 4:01 am

    Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

    rajeshmago December 31st, 2008 at 7:26 am

    @ Allen: Thanks for your positive comments and RSS subscription.

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